This Weeks Best Bets

Oscar Bets By Phillip Valys

This week, UP’s Entertainment Editor weighs in his Oscar choices for the 79th Annual Academy Award ceremony on Feb. 25. Check back next week for another three picks.

Best Cinematography:Who Should Win: Children of Men, Alfonso Cuarí_nWho Will Win: Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro

If you haven’t seen it, Alfonso Cuarí_n’s epic Children of Men succeeds in bombarding one’s faculties with gritty, abrasive camerawork, escorting viewers through debris-strewn battlefields via uninterrupted takes lasting in excess of five minutes. Cuarí_n’s dystopic narrative is an atmosphere without bounds, as audiences are unceremoniously yanked forward by invisible strings, like unwillingly toddlers learning to walk. Close-range explosions consume every square inch of on-screen space, while in other scenes the camera, the silent observer, tracks through derelict buildings while bullets riddle the walls. It’s really breathtaking cinema, for sure.

Pan’s Labyrinth, however, pushes the political agenda several inches further to the left, and depicts a young girl fighting a private battle of Fascist repression by escaping into a fantastical world of CG monsters. Unfortunately, both films are just as politicized as the other, yet Pan captures a slight edge in popularity. And really, that’s all that matters.

Best Director:

Who Should Win: Martin Scorcese, The DepartedWho Will Win: Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima

Forty years and countless menial Oscars later, 64-year-old auteur Martin Scorsese thus far has failed to seize the elusive Best Director Academy Award. Under normal circumstances a man of his prolific standing would crumble in agony, astounded by the notion that, collectively, his films represent a cache of crowning achievements. Three of which rank among the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films of All Time. These masterworks secure his place as a member of the Director’s Guild of America. They don’t, however, secure a personal golden statue.

Eastwood has kept apace with Scorsese since 2004, pocketing the Best Director honor for Million Dollar Baby. Expect a similar race to emerge come February 25. Although his poker hand usually favors the table, unfortunately the planets never were cosmically aligned for ‘olrty anyway.

Who Should Win: An Inconvenient Truth, Al GoreWho Will Win: Jesus Camp,

Jesus Camp triumphs over Al Gore’s Little-Engine-That-Could-Run-on-Ethanol An Inconvenient Truth simply because it isn’t morbidly depressing. Facing the seemingly undeniable prospect of South Florida and San Francisco Bay sinking in fifty years, who wouldn’t opt for the (unintentional) laugh-riddled exploits of Christian evangelicals yanking children out of public schools just to indoctrinate them with fundamentalist values? Three cheers and an Oscar for this generation’s Hitler Youth. And three jeers for all that Global Warming nonsense.

Want your own Oscar Ballot? Click here to download a Printable PDF:

After Hours by John Linn

There’s plenty of goodies going on this weekend, and wouldn’t you know it, this reporter has to split for Orlando. However, I’ll be enlightening those with the smarts to stay south by shouting out a couple of the cooler happenings. Just be sure to post a comment to tell me how they went.

The Saturday night indie music weekly, Poplife, has been running for nearly eight years now, switching venues nearly half-a-dozen times and still managing to draw a huge crowd at each location. Their new spot at Post (1777 SW 3rd Ave, Miami) is getting inaugurated in style – art-punk unit Deerhoof, touring on their new album Friend Opportunity, will perform a set of tunes that border on the absurd:

Vocals turn from wild harpings to Sesame Street nursery rhymes, fists mash keyboards in orgasmic tirades, Crisp guitar-work belts along with funk beats. If nothing else, Deerhoof was made for the eccentric, art-friendly atmosphere Poplife projects, and should be worth the drive south. Doors open at 8 p.m., tickets are $10; grab them at www.epoplife.com.

Despite setbacks like the closing of rock club The G, or quirky promotions team Low Fidelity bailing out on South Florida, local rock seems to be getting stronger and more resilient each year. Sure enough, proof surfaces in the All Ages Rock Fest taking place at Revolution (200 W Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale) this Sunday night at 6 p.m.

It’s not often that a national-scale venue opens its doors to local bands, but Revolution has played host to a number of cool home-grown shows, this one filled with emo-punk, guttural rock, and everything in between. Fallen From the Sky, Sense of Being, Copasetic, and Atomic Tangerine perform among two dozen other local acts that run on two separate stages. Best of all, the whole night of rock runs just $15.

This Week’s Fashion Tipsby Ashley Gabriel

Whether your ensembles are casual or dressy, “black and gold shimmer” is a clear winner this week in fashion. From dresses to sweats, light gold with shimmer is pasted all over current fashion magazines and A-list celebrities. The classic black has even donned the shimmery twist to accentuate elegance and urban chic.

When opting for gold shimmer, skin should be tanned or bronzed so the color doesn’t wash out your skin. Since black by default makes your skin appear lighter, tanning and bronzing is another advantage. While choosing accessories select gold jewelry splashed with slight colors such as light topaz or red. Tailor your shoes or hang bag to a similar color variant. Silver jewelry clashes with the black/gold ensemble. For make-up, dab some earth tones on your lips or eyes. Avoid overdoing the make-up, since this distracts from the dress.

Short dresses and sweat-suits have embraced the black and shimmer. If wearing black with silver shimmer, match jewelry color for color. Remember, any splash of color in make-up, accessories, or shoes will make your outfit unique.

For a Girl’s Night Out or simply running errands, a shimmer in your clothing always articulates a fun, unique style. A caveat, however: shirts, dresses, or sweat suits with shimmer in the material usually require dry cleaning or special care, so check the tags. Retail stores like Forever 21, Zara, Arden B. and Bebe are adopting the shimmer big time in their clothes and accessories.

CD ReviewFinding A BalanceBy Jamie Kahler

If infinity was the amount of records Fall Out Boy wanted to sell, it seems highly likely. The Chicago quartet’s fourth album, Infinity On High, is a combination of enthusiasm and angst, incorporating what dedicated fans love, and bringing forth what pop culture needs.

One part of what makes the quartet’s formula for success so grand is the longing to figure out exactly what lead singer, Patrick Stump, is actually saying. For the most part, the lyrics to Fall Out Boy’s songs can have numerous meanings, while still keeping the listener connected to the underlying message and catchy tune.

The record begins with a cameo from rap legend and Fall Out Boy producer Jay-Z, bluntly stating his viewpoint toward the critics of the music industry. Additionally, he thanks the beloved fans that have been around since Fall Out Boy’s first record release.

A Nightmare Before Christmas – a film quickly becoming a classic – most likely influenced many songs on this record. The tracks “Thnks fr th Mmrs” and “Bang the Doldrums” have many dominating parts which pull you into a scene from the Nightmare Before Christmas, making the songs very catchy while throwing in some familiarity. Which isn’t surprising, since the bass player, Pete Wentz, has numerous tattoos with different characters from Nightmare.

“This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” was the first single released from the album. This song points out the iPod generation doesn’t understand what music really is, nor do they care. To them it is all about the “scene” and not about true music. Throughout this record Fall Out Boy informs us that even though they have became famous they are still keeping to their roots and it’s still all about the music.